Thursday, February 20, 2020

Why I Should Never Keep a Dream Journal

My subconscious was, and remains, an extremely bizarre place to visit. I certainly wouldn’t want to live there.

Due to the nature of trying to cram in family, work, exercise, writing, and other hobbies, getting enough sleep for me is sporadic at best.

I know when I am getting enough, because then the memories of dreams cascade in.

Frankly, it may be better for everyone if I stopped sleeping all together.

This tale, like many both before and after the unpleasantness, was set Up the Lake.

However, it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone who has ever been there that it was Up the Lake.

This is because it had many aspects of the Duchess County Fairgrounds, a LARP meeting, and Waterloo Village blended in as well, plus some original elements.  Considering what a stickler I am for movie adaptations of properties I know, the subliminal film makers who live in my head, while highly cinematic, are awful when it comes to following the source material. 

In addition, everyone in this story was played by what Jake Johannsen referred to as "dream extras." All the actors resembling people I know in my brain must have been on vacation or busy learning lines for the epics due during the then upcoming President’s Day long weekend.

Starting over:
This tale was set in what would be an almost unrecognizable location, but in story was Up the Lake, and was filled with a bunch of people no one I know has ever seen before, but in story were my friends and family.

I was in my early twenties, or perhaps even my late teens. The day began, like most days up there began, with me walking down to the lake.

On the way I found a girl about my age, unconscious in the road.

Note- Hindsight being what it is, I can unequivocally say I was best described as a "boy" at that age. Therefore, even including faster female maturity, I have no qualms referring to this non-existent person as a girl.

I woke her, and helped her up. She seemed physically undamaged, but had a complete case of amnesia.  I brought her to the nearby cabins (Looking back- completely unknown buildings. In story- clearly recognizable.) and asked if anyone knew her to the folks at each camp.  (Looking back- who the hell are these people? In story- lifelong friends.)

No one knew her.  She was able to function normally but had no past.  (i.e. she knew what food was, she knew how to interact with people and objects etcetera, but she had no clue of where she came from.) 

Either the dream was very long and I don’t remember all of it, or more likely, there were a series of “Forest of the Dead” type time jumps.  Investigations of who she could be revealed nothing and slight glimpses of her memory returned but without any key details.  Throughout this time we became good friends.  There was nothing romantic or physical, we were good friends.

(I'm not putting a "just" or "only" in front of "good friends." Friends are unquestionably valuable.) 

Apparently, the subliminal film makers were gearing more for the Afterschool Special crowd than the Hallmark Channel or the Showtime Wednesday Night Special viewers.

More time passed, and life was relatively normal. Then a guy I’d never seen before showed up peering through the trees at the edge of our camp. (Looking back- who the hell is this guy? In story- who the hell is this guy?)

At first I thought he was doing that “confused dog head tilt to the side thing” that I regularly do. Therefore I echoed it back to him.  That’s not what he was doing, he had a deformity.  Yes, even in the theoretical home field advantage of my own brain, I am socially awkward beyond redemption.

I apologized profusely as I approached while realizing there was something way “off” about this individual. He didn't have a deformity in the normal bounds of biology. His head was basically on sideways.  It wasn’t attached sideways. That would have been less off putting.  No, his neck was about a foot and a half long and thin and rubbery with no support.

It flopped over letting his head lay on his shoulder…

Laying there staring at me with his unsettlingly creepy grin.


He explained that he was from the sideshow that was part of the Midway.  

You know, the Midway of rides and carnival games that was always part of Up the Lake.  The subliminal set department runs off on their own once again.

He also explained that he knew “Mary” and she came from the sideshow too.

Note- I am using the name “Mary” as a convenience. He said he knew her.  I knew she had a name at that point that she’d remembered on her own.  The subliminal film makers were lazy and didn’t put it in the script, so I have no idea what it really was.

“Mary” began to panic at this point as more of her memories started to surface. I got kind of a Total Recall vibe, where she kept saying she wanted to be who she currently was, not revert to being the person from the past that was connected to creepy, grinning, sideways head, carnival man.  As the subliminal film crew was transitioning from “Afterschool Special” to American Horror Story mode, I woke up.

The absolute worst part of this extremely life like, lucid and rendered in high definition dream was not having to come to terms with the abrupt and disturbing genre shift.

It wasn’t even having to come to terms with Up the Lake again.

It was transitioning from inhabiting a highly realistic virtual simulation of college age me to waking up and having to come to terms with finding myself old and crappy again.

The dream film crew got revenge a week later.


Dina Roberts said...

I love the photo you used to illustrate the dream. When reading I thought of The Haunting of Hill House and the Bent Kneck Lady.

I too have dreams in which my dream-self knows the people in the dream, but my waking self does not.

Anyway...very cool dream.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thanx for reading and joining in. I was originally looking for a cartoon picture, but the owl looked so angry I had to use it, since I can't print directly from dreams. (How cool would that be, then I could figure out if the extras are people I've seen in passing or composits.)

I've heard good things about that series, I'll have to check it out. Thanx again.